Are the Exchanges Insuring the Uninsured?

Laszewski…says HHS’s reported number of 3.3 million enrollees exaggerates the true picture. He says that to calculate a more accurate number, one must subtract about 20 percent of the enrollees because they haven’t paid (and so aren’t technically insured); as well as about two-thirds of the enrollees because they were already insured prior to signing up for ObamaCare.

“Looking at the total of 3.3 million, netting out the non-pays, and listening to the anecdotal carrier reports, it doesn’t look like we have more than a fraction — certainly something less than 10% — of the previously uninsured,” said Laszewski. (CBS News)

Comments (19)

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  1. Devon Herrick says:

    This has been a worry all along. The Christmas Season probably dampened spending on health coverage because people had other expenses they needed to spend their money on. But, it could get worse.

    When something is new, there is an element of excitement. Consider the case of a new car — it seems neat at first but the payments go on for 48 or 60 months even as the excitement of a new car wears off. The same could happened to health coverage but to a greater degree. There may be a tendency for people to drop coverage after paying premiums month after month and the newness of coverage dissipates once young people realize they are spending say, $200 per month, on coverage but have no need to see a doctor.

    • Kevin F. says:

      That is true, especially for the previously uninsured individuals that are not used to the cost of insurance. Not counting those who were “uninsurable”, many of the uninsured are those who don’t agree with the concept of paying for the eventuality of getting sick (risk neutral or risk loving). Many who actually got the insurance will get tired of paying and will terminate their coverage. But, it is not only limited to those who will get tired of paying, it will also happen with the enrollment. As time goes by, the media will cover this issue less, the ads about Obamacare will disappear, and people will stop paying attention. Once health care stops being a hot topic, it will be harder to attract new enrollees. If they are not capable of increasing enrollment in the first year, later on it would be almost impossible.

    • Freddy says:

      Every new car is amazing until it fails for the first time, the same for the insurance plans. The same thing will happen with insurance. Everything will be great until you need to see a doctor for the first time. You will find long waiting times, high deductibles, few available doctors and not as affordable as they believed it would be. After the first time they are sick, they will understand how appalling the health care system is.

  2. Matthew says:

    “They made a big deal about the age results,” said Laszewski after reviewing the HHS numbers. “But the greater challenge for them is the low number of people enrolling.”

    Sounds like the Obama Administration is trying to manipulate any number to make ACA look like a big win and a success.

    • Walter Q. says:

      The government believes that if they can make it sound like a success, then people will believe it is self-sufficient and be motivated to sign up. However, I doubt underemployed 20-30 year olds will be willing to shell out a quarter of their paycheck to healthcare they don’t need.

  3. Thomas says:

    “they neglect to point out that they need roughly 40 percent to help achieve a balanced risk pool”

    They can cheer all they want, but avoiding the truth is going to lead them nowhere. They are making progress, but the question is how substantial will that progress be. They have 27 percent, they need 40. I still don’t see it being self sufficient.

    • Andrew says:

      Especially if the enrollees haven’t even paid yet. Once they start paying, the “young invincibles” could drop coverage once they see no benefits from paying these high premiums.

      • Bill B. says:

        Much like what Devon said above, some of the new enrollees are probably excited with the thought of having healthcare for the first time. But when they see they don’t use it as much as they thought they would, then see them all drop coverage.

  4. Jay says:

    “The Obama administration insists the January figures reflect positive movement in the troubled initiative.”

    At least they have a smile on their face when dealing with denial.

  5. Andrea P. says:

    There are reasons why the uninsured were uninsured in the first place. Not all of the uninsured lived in that situation because they chose to live that way. We have to consider this when talking about this topic. President Obama cleverly grouped all the uninsured and catalogued them as individuals that the greedy insurance corporations were not willing to sell them a plan. He forgot that many simply don’t like insurances. It is hard to believe that in a country that has carried the flag of freedom, is limiting the freedom of their own citizens by forcing them to purchase something they don’t want to buy.

  6. Alberto L says:

    It has been a constant of the HHS to exaggerate facts, the enrollment numbers are just one of them. This department overstated the importance of a universal healthcare, underestimated the cost of implementing the program and overestimated the benefits Obamacare will bring to Americans.

    • Jeff W says:

      Not to mention how miserably they failed in launching, a pillar in the program. The department simply ignored the graveness of the issues with the webpage and acted with negligence in finding solutions to those problems.

  7. Phillip says:

    “He says that to calculate a more accurate number, one must subtract about 20 percent of the enrollees because they haven’t paid (and so aren’t technically insured); as well as about two-thirds of the enrollees because they were already insured prior to signing up for ObamaCare.” I am curious about why people have to do this.

    • Paul V says:

      What this article is saying is that Obamacare is not as beautiful as the HHS make it sound like. It is saying that of the 3.3 Million enrollees, the vast majority are not previously uninsured individuals. Remember that the main goal of this policy was to provide insurance to every American, regardless of previous conditions (The big assumption the administration has is that the uninsured population consisted mostly of sick patients deemed uninsurable by the insurance companies). This post indicates that the numbers are being inflated they the Department of Health and Human Services, and that less than ten percent of those who have purchased insurance under Obamacare are actually those for whom the plan was designed. Basically it states that Obamacare is not living up to the expectations.

    • Thomas says:

      It is because they have yet to pay on their premiums. So technically, they are not insured because they haven’t paid yet. You have to take into account the people who have signed up but will not end up paying and dropping coverage.

  8. Yancey Ward says:

    If one takes the 80% paying at face value, you can be pretty damned certain that the number is only that high because a majority of the people buying in the exchange have spent previous years actually paying for health insurance. I bet almost all of the non-payers come from the group that was previously uninsured.

    • Charlie says:

      It makes perfect sense. Totally agree with you. The holes in the system are created by those for whom the system was created on the first place.

  9. John Fembup says:

    If the numbers were good, this administration would be hammering the Republicans into the ground with them.

  10. Suzy says:

    Would love for reporters to talk to some of these previously uninsured – and still uninsured – and see what they have to say.